Here at Crescent Wealth, we love sport.
Whether it’s supporting the Auburn Giants or cheering on Usman Khawaja in test cricket, we’re big fans of the broad benefits that participation in sport bring to individuals, families and the community and the values of teamwork & shared wins.
However, earlier this month we opted-out of celebrating one particular sports event: The Melbourne Cup.
Instead, we said Nup to the Cup and invested in more enjoyable, halal activities as a team.
As an Islamic superannuation fund, we actively choose not to invest in gambling and alcohol because we understand the negative impact they can have.
Australia is in first place for….. Gambling?
Crikey, Australia is the biggest gambling nation on the planet!
That’s according to the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office. They provide the most comprehensive research into Australia’s Gambling habits.
Their most recent report shows that $209 billion was gambled in 2016-17, with $23.7 billion lost by Australians as a result of betting. The majority of losses are from pokies and slot machines with the remainder from lotteries, casinos, racing and sports betting.
The rise of betting apps, particularly racing and sports betting apps is making it easier for people to place bets in a matter of a 1 or 2 clicks.
The True Cost of Racing Horses
Australia’s horse-racing industry relies heavily on gambling. Around 90% of Racing Victoria’s annual revenue is generated by the gambling industry.
While Racing Victoria states on their website that they generate $3.2 billion for the Victorian Economy and provide around 25,000 jobs for workers – they depend almost entirely on gambling revenue.
For a growing number of Australians and particularly ethical & Islamic super funds like us, this is simply not okay.
And we’re not alone.
This year, the Melbourne Cup turned over $106 million, which was 7.8% lower than last year in line with the trend away from betting on horses.
The Ripple Effect
While we understand that people taking part in a $2 office sweep once a year is relatively benign, we do believe that the broader acceptance that sport & gambling go hand-in-hand isn’t healthy.
We also recognise how difficult it is for those people within our community that are affected by gambling.
“For every problem gambler about five to 10 other people are impacted by the addiction”. Says Barry Prater; a Gambling/Financial Councillor at St Davids Uniting Care in Albury. “This includes the person’s immediate partner, children, friends and work colleagues.”
Relationships break-down when close friends & family are asked for money or loans to help problem-gamblers get out of debt.
It’s a vicious cycle that many struggle to get out of.
Too much risk for unwilling participants
As an Islamically compliant super fund provider, in addition to our views on gambling – we also believe horse-racing differs ethically to other sports.
Unlike athletes, horses don’t freely choose to participate in a sport and assess the risks the sport poses to them. The risks are also disproportionately higher for the horse than for the rider.
We apply a similar approach to the way we allocate superannuation funds. By applying ethical and Islamic filters to where we invest members’ money, we know we are not supporting harmful industries.
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Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue. Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.